The New Suit of Armor
A Canadian clothier is making bulletproof suits that look sharp-and save your life.
While most businessmen close deals in conference rooms and on golf courses, Maxwell Morgan often finds himself inking contracts in such areas as Serbia and Sierra Leone. Although he’s never stared down the barrel of a gun, the Canadian financier, who frequently deals with those he cryptically refers to as “merchants in the global payment space,” sought serious personal protection. But traveling with a gun-toting bodyguard or wearing a flak jacket wouldn’t exactly inspire the same confidence in clients as his signature power suit and pocket square.
Then he discovered Garrison Bespoke’s Bulletproof Suit. The natty ensemble features a jacket made with a superstrong, ultralight lining that shields wearers from bullets and blades. Garrison Bespoke has always used a very hands-on tailoring approach. Explains David Tran, head of special projects, “It’s about making something that fits your lifestyle, that’s reflective of your personality.” Garrison Bespoke, which has been outfitting Toronto’s elite in nonprotective attire since 2002, came to realize that many globe-trotting executives needed Special Ops protection, by way of Savile Row style.
Since Kevlar, the thick, rigid material found in bulletproof vests, would make a suit too bulky, Garrison partnered with an anonymous military supplier who had created a carbon nanotube fabric that can stop 9 mm and .45 caliber rounds. The material weighs half as much as Kevlar and can be sewn into nearly any fabric, from linen to lambswool.
Garrison’s combat-ready couture isn’t exactly unique: Colombian clothier Miguel Caballero designs bulletproof clothing fit for the mean streets of Medellín, and U.S. companies including Bullet Blocker have successfully sold casual ballistics wear for years. Rumor has it even President Obama wears protective suiting on occasion.
But the Garrison Bespoke suit’s nanotech lining and custom-tailored style set it apart. “The suit allows me to look comfortable and collected while still having a coat of armor,” says Morgan. And he’s not the only guy in the market for a bullet-deflecting blazer. So far, nearly 20 buyers have shelled out $20,000 for the risky-business attire. The armor’s few chinks? Only the jacket is protective—tough luck if you’re shot in the leg—and wearers are discouraged from washing or dry-cleaning it, which could affect its bullet-stopping tech. So you’ll need to use detergent sticks to erase stains (O-negative or otherwise). But hey—if you’re in the market for one, that should be the least of your worries.